Simon Cowell Counts Down His Favorite ‘AGT’ Golden Buzzers

Jill O'Rourke
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AGT Simon CowellTrae Patton/NBC

On Tuesday night, America’s Got Talent Season 17 took a break from new auditions to count down 15 of judge Simon Cowell’s favorite Golden Buzzer acts. Cowell and host Terry Crews watched the choices and shared their thoughts about each performance.


Cowell said he “can remember every second” of these memorable auditions. And he didn’t just choose his own Golden Buzzers. The Top 15 included acts such as poet Brandon Leake (Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer), contortionist Sofie Dossi (Reba McEntire’s Judge Cuts Golden Buzzer), and World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (Terry Crews’ Golden Buzzer).

Let’s take a look at Cowell’s Top 5 choices for his all-time favorite Golden Buzzers. They include picks from Crews, Gabrielle Union, and Mel B, as well as two of his own.

Simon Cowell’s Top 5 Favorite ‘AGT’ Golden Buzzers

5. Mandy Harvey, Season 12

When she auditioned for Season 12, this singer explained that she’s deaf, having lost her hearing at age 18. She went on to sing an original song called “Try.” Cowell said that he wondered to himself, “How is that possible?” He ended up hitting the Golden Buzzer for her, explaining in the new special that it took him about four seconds to decide. Mandy finished the season in fourth place. Cowell said AGT “wouldn’t be the same without her.”


4. Detroit Youth Choir, Season 14

Cowell called this group of young singers “the best choir we’ve ever had.” They auditioned with the song “Can’t Hold Us,” bringing up the energy in the room. In an emotional moment, Crews hit the Golden Buzzer, saying, “Every young man and woman in this stage represents me and where I came from.” He and Cowell talked about how the choir came in second place and later received $1 million from the city of Detroit.

3. Kodi Lee, Season 14

“I will never forget that moment,” Cowell said of this singer, who is blind and has autism. Kodi auditioned with a performance of “A Song for You,” showing off a stunning voice and a talent on the piano, earning the Golden Buzzer from Gabrielle Union. Crews said it was “like watching a miracle live,” while Cowell said it gave him “goosebumps on my goosebumps.” Kodi’s audition was the most viral moment in the show’s history, and he went on to win the show and perform in the AGT Las Vegas live show.

2. Darci Lynne Farmer, Season 12

This singing ventriloquist was 12 years old when she auditioned for the show with her puppet Petunia. Cowell admitted, “I did think on the day that wasn’t her singing.” He couldn’t believe she could sound so amazing without even moving her mouth. Darci earned the Golden Buzzer from Mel B and went on to win Season 12 with her continually charming act and even more puppet friends. She later came in second place during AGT: The Champions.


1. Nightbirde, Season 16

“No one else, in my opinion, could be No. 1,” Cowell said of this singer, who shared her battle with cancer and performed an original song called “It’s OK.” Cowell hit the Golden Buzzer for her inspiring performance last year. He and Crews got emotional watching the audition again, as Nightbirde (whose real name was Jane Marczewski) sadly passed away earlier this year at age 31. Cowell said she represents “what the Golden Buzzer is all about,” while Crews shared that he felt like he was “watching an angel.”

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